About Navin Chaddha

Navin Chaddha is responsible for the overall leadership of Mayfield Fund. He is a proven serial entrepreneur and venture investor. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, has been named four times to the Forbes Midas List of Top Tech investors including for 2012, and was named to the Always on Power Players West, Always On Cloud and Always on Mobile list of top investors. Navin invests in the companies that leverage the drivers of cloud/SaaS, mobile, energy and big data and oversees Mayfield’s dedicated India fund.

These three trends will transform how employees use their phones

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Image Credit: Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

As an investor in enterprise mobile startups, I meet with hundreds of entrepreneurs every year whose business plans include the “mobile” buzzword.

Many of them are app companies that target consumers or ad networks and platforms that help reach them.

While these are interesting and will certainly yield some unicorns, I think there are even bigger opportunities for startups that leverage mobile technology to solve the most pressing problems for enterprises.

Many organizations are unprepared for the mobile future. The vast majority of knowledge workers own smartphones, and they regularly use them to access apps like Evernote, Dropbox, and Box – whether their companies want them to or not.Continue Reading

5 myths about the marketplace that mobile strategies busted

mobile-786x305In the era of mobile, social, and the sharing economy, we’re seeing the emergence of next-gen mobile-enabled marketplaces in every ecommerce category, from fashion (Poshmark), to health (Brighter and HealthTap), lodging (Airbnb and HotelTonight), transportation (Uber and Lyft), and real estate (Zillow).

However, we have noticed that several conventional wisdoms surrounding marketplaces are getting disrupted. It’s important to constantly question traditional assumptions whenever new platforms arise, as it’s these disruptions which incumbents often fail to adopt, leaving room for innovative startups to spring ahead in new land-grab opportunities.

Mayfield recently hosted a Mobile Marketplaces dinner with leading entrepreneurs, which yielded several insights.

Myth #1: Online marketplaces have no offline component

Many of the newer service marketplaces feel more like “movements” rather than “businesses,” and actually require very careful architecture of the end-to-end experience both online and offline, including areas such as culture and workflow.

“Mobile is a foundational part of the Airbnb experience. When you travel, you are constantly on the go, so being connected to your mobile device might be your only digital lens into the world,” says Shaun Modi, designer at Airbnb. “How do we design and build a world-class mobile experience that not only satisfies the needs of our users, but fuels growth and inspires more people to join the Airbnb global community? It all starts with culture.

“By focusing on designing our internal culture, it seamlessly translates to the experience we create, both online and offline. Everything from the layout of our office, design principles, team structures, and interview process definitively reflects who we are.”

Modi also says startups should invest internally to inspire employees to have empathy for each other and for their customers.Continue Reading

A ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ approach to venture capital

Silver liningThe venture capital industry is getting rightsized, with less capital raised and deployed, smaller funds, fewer active venture capital firms, and more regulation. The exit climate has picked up, but is still not at the level required. And valuations are overall more rational, with some exceptions at the later stages or in consumer-facing momentum companies.

However, with the confluence of not one but four big market drivers (discussed below), and the rise of a new technology cycle,  we think this is still a great time to be a venture capitalist or entrepreneur.

Recent VC industry data released by the NVCA confirmed the reality of a welcome flight to quality and rightsizing trend. Key findings include:

  • In 2012, the VC industry raised $20 billion vs. the almost $100 billion in 2000;
  • 92% of this capital went to existing managers (vs. first-time managers) and 48% went to 10 large firms;
  • Overall, about 522 firms are estimated to be active, and some believe this number even lower closer to 100 defined as firms that have made at least 4 investments over the last year;
  • The median fund size for 2012 was $150 million, and the overall deal pace has come down to slightly over 750 investments per quarter;
  • Although some momentum companies are being bid up, valuations are trending lower overall according to Dow Jones Venture Source data.Continue Reading

Finding the next AWS, VMWare or EMC: Five areas where cloud startups can make it big

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In a world where, in the blink of an eye, anyone with a credit card can access what is essentially the largest computer in the world (in the form of AWS), today’s enterprise data centers are starting to look like mainframe systems of a bygone era: clunky, complex, inflexible, risky and expensive to develop and operate.

To keep up, enterprises have had two real choices: deploy their apps and services in third-party data centers, or implement private clouds. Public clouds, while attractive in their utility and cost, have not been a good option due to a lack of control and guaranteed service levels. But a third choice has emerged: the hybrid cloud.Continue Reading

Embracing a Mobile-First Mentality for a Brave, New World

Mobile-icon-largeWith over one billion smartphones and over 120 million tablets in use today, the PC era has given way to the world of mobile. Consumers, developers and businesses are being presented with innovative products from disruptive entrepreneurs. At Mayfield Fund, we believe that a new world order is being formed, where many mobile-first companies will grow into industry giants. Continue Reading

Rules of the Road for the Era of Simplicity, Mobile and the Social Web


SocialI have been involved in the technology industry for 20 years as a serial entrepreneur, corporate executive and investor. There are some key rules of the road that have guided my journey and these are especially relevant in the current era when the social Web is dominant, mobile platforms are ubiquitous and consumers are demanding simplicity. As an entrepreneur, I believe that living by some core beliefs is key to leading teams and building companies that last. Here are a few of my fundamental beliefs, illustrated with examples from the entrepreneurs that we are working with.

The Customer is Queen:

Actively listening to your customers and rapidly iterating to reflect customer needs has never been so important. From a vendor of cloud-integrated storage appliances to a mobile fashion marketplace, Mayfield Fund entrepreneurs like Ursheet Parikh and Guru Pangal of StorSimple and Manish Chandra of Poshmark, who constantly listen, react and respond to customer feedback, are finding a quick path to customer engagement.Continue Reading

Navin Chaddha Shares Mayfield View on Marketplaces

SocialThe U.S. e-commerce market is estimated at $200 billion and is still projected to account for only 9 percent of total retail by 2016 (source: Forrester Research Feb. 2012 U.S. Online Retail forecast). We believe there is ample room for growth, and much of it will come from marketplaces. The metaphor of online marketplaces, established by Amazon and eBay starting in 1995, has endured and is flourishing once again – but in a different way than in the past. From an investor point of view, four things have changed:

The Rise of Vertical: The e-commerce market is large enough to support vertical marketplaces that super-serve consumer needs and are defying the “winner take all” theory that eBay or Amazon will be the only game in town. These vertical marketplaces have tuned the user experience to very specific needs by vertical and are easier to achieve liquidity due to their focus. Examples include Homeaway (vacation rentals), Etsy (niche artisan goods), and OpenTable (restaurant reservations).Continue Reading

Solving the pain points of mobile developers

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker pointed out the following facts in the 2012 Annual Internet Trends report and the Cisco Visual Networking Index report:

  • There are 953 million smartphone subscribers today;
  • The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012;
  • Cloud-connected services will account for 71 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016.

According to a recent survey conducted by mobile development and cloud platform provider (and one of my portfolio investments) Appcelerator, mobile developers are enthusiastically embracing cloud services.Continue Reading

Going Green: Investing In Consumer Focused Energy Tech

In recent years, the revolutionary opportunities in the energy sector have attracted billions of dollars from early stage venture investors. But the venture world has learned some hard lessons on the difficulty of building energy businesses: they face science risk, often take a long time to scale and can be capital intensive.

While the overall appetite for venture-backed energy suppliers has cooled, we believe there are abundant opportunities for entrepreneurs to innovate on the ‘demand-side’ of energy markets. We are seeing a wave of new energy companies developing technologies focused on energy efficiency. Alas, most of these companies fall short when it comes to bridging that crucial gap between technical innovation and customer adoption. Similar to the trend toward consumerization of IT, we believe the companies that are poised to explode and redefine the energy tech landscape are the ones that are putting the consumer in the driver’s seat. Their value goes beyond the promise of energy efficiency, to deliver products and services that delight users, make them accessible through innovative business models, and understand the mindset of the energy consumer.Continue Reading

The Mobile Revolution: Startup Ideas For Changing The World

We have entered the mobile era of computing. And just like the previous eras – those of the mainframe, then the client-server and the PC – the mobile era is a fundamental shift with a new set of problems to solve.

The key to the mobile era is that it’s all about delighting and empowering the end user. The end user interacts with technology the way he/she interacts with the world around them. It will be hard for incumbents to embrace this new paradigm, just as it was hard for mainframe-era leaders to dominate the world of PCs, or for PC giants to pivot to embrace the Web. Similar to how Cisco and Polycom pioneered telepresence, but it took Skype to bring videoconferencing to the masses, we believe that a new mobile world order will emerge, with leaders being created by entrepreneurs and disruptors.

Three trends are shaping these opportunities.Continue Reading